Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Try Again


Lasting change requires more than just speaking up, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise.  Democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100 percent right. 

We can be completely right, and have all the relevant facts, but we still need to engage those people, with whom we disagree in a civil and persuade manner.  Those of you, who think that the only way to succeed in changing another persons opinion is to be as uncompromising as possible; don’t understand that lasting change often takes many generations to accomplish.  Winning a single election can make some people feel good about themselves, but enjoying moral purity, and feeling superior isn’t going to get them what they want.

Those who don’t get what they want right away may eventually think the whole system is rigged.  That could lead to more cynicism, less participation, and a downward spiral of more injustice, anger and eventually despair.  Cynicism will never result in progress, and you may cheat yourself of the possibility of success.

Making an awful situation better is preferable, because then we have an opportunity to consolidate our gains and move on to the next fight from a stronger position.

The Emancipation Proclamation, and the Voting Rights Act were certainly not perfect when they were first implemented, but they did indicate that our nation was beginning to make progress.  They did not make up for centuries of slavery, or eliminate racism, but they did make things better.

In my opinion our struggle against racism will continue for generations.  Electing Obama was a feel good moment for Democrats.  However, by not voting, or voting in subsequent elections for members of Congress, who didn’t support Obama’s agenda, made it impossible for him to achieve his goals.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Nudging


Andrew J. Bacevich taught history and international relations at Boston University.  On May 13, 2007, his son, 1st Lt. Andrew John Bacevich, died in Iraq at the age of 27 after a suicide bomb explosion.

The following an excerpt is from an article he wrote a decade ago, that applies to those presidential candidates, who want to be “Commander-in- Chief, ” in 2017.

“The challenge confronting those aspiring to the presidency, therefore, is to devise an alternative to Bush's failed strategy.  To pass muster, any such strategy will have to recognize the limits of American power, military and otherwise.  It must acknowledge that because the United States cannot change Islam, we have no alternative but to coexist with it.

“Yet coexistence should not imply appeasement or passivity.  Any plausible strategy will prescribe concrete and sustainable policies designed to contain the virulent strain of radicalism currently flourishing in parts of the Islamic world.  The alternative to transformation is not surrender but quarantine.

“Over time, of course, Islam will become something other than what it is today.  But as with our own post-Christian West, that evolution will be determined primarily by forces within.  Our interest lies in nudging that evolution along a path that alleviates rather than perpetuates conflict between Islam and the West.  In that regard, the requirement is not for a bigger Army but for fresh ideas, informed by modesty and a sense of realism.

“The candidate who can articulate such ideas might well merit respect and popular support.  Those who in the absence of serious strategic analysis reflexively posture about the need for more troops deserve only contempt.”

A decade ago Andrew J. Bacevich couldn’t have anticipated fighting ISIS terrorist at home and in Iraq. 

Hillary Clinton pledges to continue and intensify what President Obama has been doing.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Crumbling Infrastructure


Long a source of national pride, America's infrastructure is in critical need of repair, but federal spending on the issue has gone down 9 percent in the past decade.  

Republican Ray LaHood was an Illinois member of the House of Representative from 1994 to 2008, until President Obama asked him in 2009 to become his Secretary of Transportation.  Our former Secretary of Transportation blames Congress for failing to raise the gas tax for 23 years.
He insists: “We're like a third-world country when it comes to infrastructure.”

Nearly 60,000 bridges across America are in desperate need of repair.  One example is down the street from the White House and Capitol Hill.  In our nation's capital, 68,000 vehicles a day cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge between Washington and Virginia.

National Park Service spokesperson Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles has disclosed: "It's just eroding and concrete is falling off."  The original support beams of the Arlington Memorial Bridge have been corroding since 1932.  The beams have never been replaced, and the bridge could be closed to vehicle traffic within five years if they are not fixed.  It would cost $250 million.”

In 1932, Congress was dealing with the Great Depression, but President Herbert Hoover enacted the first federal gas tax of 1 cent per gallon. The gas tax is a major source of funding for bridges and roads that has been raised periodically until 1993, when it was set at 18.4 cents per gallon.

Although the gas tax has remained steady, vehicles have become more efficient.  And, according to the Congressional Budget Office our federal government spending on infrastructure declined 9 percent from 2003-14.

Beyond funding, there is the issue of how to make our bridges better.  Researchers at the University of Michigan believe they have a fix.  It’s bendable concrete that can heal itself from cracks.  Demonstration in the university's engineer lab shows regular concrete can fail suddenly.  Professor Victor Li, who developed the technology over the past 10 years, said the bendable concrete can withstand a force hundreds of times more powerful than standard concrete.  Those researchers' hope that would help already crumbling bridges, like the Memorial Bridge near the nation's capital.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, bridge infrastructure investment needs to be increased by $8 billion annually.  The society claims that increase would address the estimated $76 billion needed for our deficient bridges.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Governor Susana Martinez


The latest conflict escalation between Donald Trump and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who is the Republican Party's best-known Latina elected official erupted after the governor said that she was too busy to attend a Trump event in her state.

At that event, Trump blamed Martinez for a growing number of food stamp recipients and for New Mexico's response to the federal government's resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.

He told his supporters in Albuquerque: "We have to get your governor to get going.  She's got to do a better job, OK?  Your governor has got to do a better job.  She's not doing the job.

"Hey!  Maybe I'll run for governor of New Mexico.  I'll get this place going.  She's not doing the job.  We've got to get her going.  Come on, let's go, governor."

Trump later said "Syrian refugees are being relocated in large numbers to New Mexico.  If I was governor, that wouldn't be happening."

It's not just a fight between Trump and a prominent Republican Latina, because Martinez is also the chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association, who has the task electing GOP governors in November, with Trump leading the party on the ballot.

Gov. Martinez’s spokesperson, Mike Lonergan hit back at Trump after those remarks in Albuquerque.  Lonergan pointed out: “The pot shots weren't about policy, they were about politics.  And the governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans.

“Governor Martinez doesn't care about what Donald Trump says about her -- she cares about what he says he will do to help New Mexicans.  She's disappointed that she didn't hear anything about that last night."

Not unlike Senator Warren of Massachusetts, Governor Susana Martinez won't be bullied by an arrogant billionaire. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pocahontas


Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has endorsed neither Hillary Clinton nor her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, which makes her one of just two Democratic Senators, who have yet to state their preference for Clinton or Sanders. 

In 2006, two years before the housing market collapsed in 2008 and millions of Americans lost their homes.  Donald Trump announced that he was hoping for a crash: "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy...”

In a recent speech at the Center for Popular Democracy's annual gala, Warren took aim at Trump's business record.  She portrayed the billionaire real estate mogul as uncaring and dishonest.

She asked: "What kind of a man roots for people to get thrown out of their houses?  What kind of a man roots for people to get thrown out of their jobs?  To root for people to lose their pensions?"

"I'll tell you exactly what kind of a man does that.  It is a man who cares about no one but himself.  A small, insecure, money-grubber who doesn't care who gets hurt, so long as he makes a profit off it."

Warren frequently attacks Trump using the real estate mogul's trademark medium Twitter.  The most verbal broadside comes as the Massachusetts Democrat continues to stay uncommitted in her party's presidential primary.  Warren is often speculated as a democratic vice presidential pick, but she has maintained neutrality between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  Her eagerness to hit Trump reflects an eagerness among many Democratic politicians to pivot toward the general election.

In a speech, Trump responded by calling her "Pocahontas," thereby reviving a 2012 controversy about the Massachusetts senator Native American heritage.  And, on Twitter, he calling Senator Warren:"goofy," and questioning her record as a Senator.

***See post entitled “Disaster Capitalism” made on January 30, 2010.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vietnam Visit


President Obama made a case for human rights in Vietnam during a recent speech in Hanoi.  He also called for a peaceful resolution of the disputes between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea.
He stressed the need to uphold human rights in his remarks to the Vietnamese people, that were broadcast on television in a nation that has a dismal record on the issue.

Obama noted: “Human rights is not a threat to stability, but reinforces it.  Freedom of speech and expression fuels the economy.  That is how some of our greatest companies began.”  He explained, that while the U.S. is not trying to impose the American form of government on Vietnam, the country should be more open to scrutiny in order to grow stronger and more prosperous.”

Our President's speech was broadcast on Vietnamese television, which is almost unheard criticism of the country's human rights' record to be aired on their state-run TV.

Before addressing the Vietnamese people on human rights, Obama met with six leaders from Vietnamese civil society, and pointed out that several activists had been prevented from attending the meeting.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said:"We are not going to be able to release any names of folks that could not attend, but a small number of invitees faced obstacles in attending the meeting.

"The unprecedented nature of a meeting between a head of state and independent civil society in Hanoi demonstrates that we will continue to raise issues related to human rights with Vietnam even as our relationship progresses and we have continued differences, and the President expressed to both the government and civil society that he believes our deepening engagement will allow us to more productively support progress on legal reforms and respect for universal values going forward.”

Vietnamese fishermen have told CNN that they have been repeatedly boarded by Chinese flagged vessels and their equipment stolen and crew beaten.

Regarding, those reports, President Obama announced: "In the South China Sea, the U.S. is not a claimant in current disputes, but we will stand with our partners in upholding key principles like freedom of navigation.  Nations are sovereign and no matter how large or small a nation may be, its territory should be respected."

He did not mention by name, that China has been making aggressive moves in the South China Sea, where it has been making multiple territorial claims.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Valerie Jarrett


On “60 Minuets,” correspondent Norah O'Donnell asked Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s Senior Advisor a series of questions about Obama’s relationship with Congressional Republicans.

Valerie Jarrett explained: “Their leader in the Senate, Republican Mitch McConnell, has told President Obama there will be no hearing on his Supreme Court choice.  Despite the fact that Garland was confirmed to the D.C circuit, considered the second highest court in the land, back in 1997 with the majority of Senate Republicans voting for him...

“Well, the way you convince them is to try to put enough political pressure on them so they'll do the right thing.  And I think that that momentum is building from the American people, and that's where the pressure will come...

“It has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they're chummy.  This has to do with whether or not they've made the political calculus, the raw political calculus that it is in their self-interest not to give a hearing to Judge Garland.  When they decide it is in their self-interest, they'll do it. And it is our job to launch a campaign to encourage them to do their jobs. Just as the president did his.  Nothing to do with personality.  Nothing to do with schmoozing.  Nothing to do with whether or not they're buddies. This is raw politics, from their perspective.  And has nothing to do with what is been in the best interest of the American people...

“This kind of politics is about trying to figuring out what you think you have to do to get reelected.  And what we've seen, Norah, time and time again, is the Republicans decide they can't even come to the White House and go through a receiving line.  They can't even show up at a state dinner, because they're afraid of what the consequences will be if they do...

“I want to completely debunk this notion that if the president were just simply more friendly and more outgoing and schmooze that this would change.  This is simply about the Republicans making the political calculus that to be friendly to the White House is not in their interest.  That's the decision that they made when he was first elected.  And they've stayed steadfastly true to that for the last seven years, to the detriment of the American people.”

According to Robert Draper’s book, “GOP’s Anti-Obama Campaign Started Night Of Inauguration,” top Republican lawmakers and strategists conjured up ways to submarine Obama’s presidency at a private dinner on the night of his inauguration.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hillary Won’t Pander


Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump was a politician beholden to the gun lobby, and that his presidency would mean "more kids at risk of violence and bigotry."
Her comments were made at the Trayvon Martin Foundation's third annual "Circle of Mothers" meeting after Trump used a speech at a National Rifle Association convention to blast Clinton as ill-prepared for the presidency and claim that she "wants to abolish the Second Amendment."  Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother had invited Hillary Clinton to speak. 

Hillary noted: "Unlike Donald Trump, I will not pander to the gun lobby, and we will not be silenced and we will not be intimidated.  As long as children anywhere are being killed by gun violence, we will keep fighting for our kids, because they deserve a president who stands up for them and stands with the mothers here.  Their lives are valuable."

Trump had said that Hillary was "heartless" for backing restrictions on gun ownership, and that he’d overturn Obama's executive actions on guns and do away with gun-free zones, including in schools.

Clinton responded by explaining that Trump's vision is “dangerous,” and that while Trump wants to allow guns in schools, she believes parents, teachers and schools should have the right to keep guns out of classrooms, like Trump does at many of his hotels.  She noted:"If you want to imagine what Trump's America will look like, picture more kids at risk of violence and bigotry.”

Although, Clinton supports additional gun control measures, she has never taken the position of wanting “to abolish the Second Amendment.”

After nine people were killed last year during a church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, Clinton called for universal background checks on gun purchases and more investment in mental health resources.

Clinton said: "I lived in Arkansas and I represented upstate New York.  I know that gun ownership is part of the fabric of a lot of law-abiding communities.  I also know that we can have common-sense gun reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable while respecting responsible gun owners."

She pointed out that favoring tough gun laws did not mean she was in favor of taking guns away from law-abiding owners.  The Democratic candidate for president added that our country is "smart" and "strong" enough to protect people while respecting "the rights of responsible gun owners."

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Clear Choice


The choice in November for president is very clear, because Hillary Clinton’s campaign is about restoring people’s confidence in our governments ability to solve problems.  That will require the Democratic Party winning back a majority in the Senate, so that President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court can finally be confirmed, and the vacancy filled.  
By overturning the Citizens United ruling, that was made by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, members of Congress will be able to restore our democracy, by get unaccountable money out of our politics and thereby start closing the gap of inequality.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, both agree that wages are too low and inequality is too high.  They agree that Social Security should be expanded, and not cut or privatized.  They agree college should be affordable for all student, and that every American should have access to affordable, quality health care.

The Democratic party platform will pledge to keep our country safe, and our troops out of another costly ground war in the Middle East.  And, it will recognize that climate change is a real, and urgent threat, that requires an aggressive response that can make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century.
As a political party, Democrats need to agree on defending civil rights and voting rights, workers’ rights and women’s rights, LGBT rights and rights for people with disabilities.  They need to stand together and speak out against Republican candidates, who would threaten those rights and pit Americans against each other.

The Republican Party would continue to make it harder to vote, and deny women the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions. They’d round up millions of hardworking immigrants and deport them, and discriminate against Muslim Americans who we need in the fight against radicalization.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Not Fully Appreciated


Many uninformed Americans don’t fully appreciate what the Obama administration has accomplished.

As Commander-in- Chief, he ordered the killing of US.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen by a drone strike on 9/30/11.  Al-Awlaki helped recruit Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Nigerian charged with trying to blow up a transatlantic flight on December 25, 2009.  He had also exchanged e-mails with accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hassan.  Osama bin Laden and Anwar al Awlaki have been killed, and the fascist government of Tripoli has fallen.  

On 4/6/12, senior operative of al Qaeda, Fahd al Quso was killed for his role in the USS Cole bombing was killed by an airstrike in Yemen.  Al Quso was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York in 2003 on 50 counts of terrorism offenses for his role in bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen.  The bombing killed 17 U.S. sailors.

At the end of Bush administration the wealth of most American families had declined at a rate nearly seven times faster than when the stock market crashed in 1929.  Home foreclosures numbered in the millions.  Deficits were soaring because hardworking Americans, who had been meeting their responsibilities, and paying taxes were suddenly unemployed.  

Since, President Obama took office the unemployment rate has been cut in half.  Our auto industry has had its best year ever.  Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years.  More than 14 million new jobs have been create in the past 2 years, which is the strongest two years of job growth since the '90s.  Our economy started growing six months after Obama took office and by the end of last month, we had enjoyed 74 consecutive month of private sector job growth.  

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Truth Is


In 2010, Congressional scholar, Norm Ornstein said that the 111st. Congress had a greater level of productivity than any Congress in the last 40 years.  That record was posted yesterday.

From 2008 until Jan. 2010, the Democratic Party had a majority in both Houses of Congress.  According to Ornstein those majorities enabled President Obama to have greater legislative success than Lyndon Johnson or Ronald Reagan.

When, Obama took office, we we’re in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  America had lost 650,000 jobs in December 2008.  An additional 700,000 jobs were lost in January, the month Obama was sworn in.  On February 13, 2009, twenty-four days after Obama took office the Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, without a single Republican vote in the House and only 3 Republican votes in the Senate.  By doing so, they prevented the worst financial crisis from getting worse and turned the economy from contraction to expansion.

Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, that protect all Americans from the worst practices of insurance companies.  Coverage won’t be revoked, premiums won’t be arbitrarily raised and insurance companies won’t be allowed to use a pre-existing condition to deny coverage.

Medicare was strengthened by cracking down on fraud and waste and keeping it solvent for decades to come.  Most importantly, it protects guaranteed benefits, eligibility and the right to keep your doctor for all seniors.

According to the Congressional Budget Office health care reform should cut the deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years, and as much as $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next two decades. 

Obama signed the Consumer Protection Act, which cracks down on corporate fraud and holds big banks accountable for reckless, risky behavior.  The financial crisis taught us that the look-the-other way, hands-off deregulatory policies of the recent past can jeopardize not only private investments, but our entire economy.

That legislation will reform Wall Street by creating a consumer financial protection bureau to regulate the trading of derivatives, one of the root causes of the current meltdown, while allowing small businesses to continue using them to mitigate risk.  It will end taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street institutions by establishing a new authority to wind down failing mega-firms outside of bankruptcy, so shareholders and creditors pick up the cost, not taxpayers.  

Friday, May 20, 2016

Legislative Record of 111 st. Congress


The American Recovery and  Reinvestment Act was enacted in the first month of President Obama’s administration, to jumpstart our economy, create and save 3.5 million jobs, give 98 percent of American workers a tax cut, and begin to rebuild America’s road, rail, and water infrastructure, with unprecedented accountability.
The Democratic Priorities in Tax Relief and Unemployment Insurance Act was the result of a controversial Obama-GOP agreement that includes Democratic priorities to create jobs and promote recovery, including cutting taxes for the middle class and small businesses for the next 2 years.  It provided a $120 billion payroll tax reduction for workers, and extended unemployment insurance for 13 months.
Small Business Tax Cut landmark legislation provided for 17 small business tax cuts, that include the Small Business Jobs Act, which created up to 500,000 jobs, by leveraging up to $300 billion in private sector lending for small businesses through a lending fund for community banks, and was fully paid for.  Additionally, Nancy Pelosi secured the House passage of the  Hired Act that created 300,000 jobs with tax incentives for businesses hiring unemployed Americans and spurred small business investment, and unleashing investments to rebuild infrastructure.
The Teacher Jobs/State Aid/Closing Tax Loopholes legislation created and saved about 319,000 jobs.  Thereby saving 161,000 teacher jobs and providing state aid that created and save another 158,000 jobs.  It was fully paid for by closing loopholes that encourage companies to ship American jobs overseas.
The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act made the largest investment in college aid in history by increasing Pell Grants, making college loans more affordable, and strengthening community colleges, while reducing the federal deficit by ending wasteful student loan subsidies to banks.
The Cash For Clunkers Act jump-started the U.S. auto industry, with consumer incentives for trading in an old vehicle for one with higher fuel efficiency.  It spurred the sale of 700,000 vehicles.
The landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions and dropping coverage when they got sick and need it the most.  It made coverage affordable for families and small businesses, thus strengthening Medicare, created up to 4 million jobs, reduced the deficit, and extended coverage to 32 million more Americans.
Child Nutrition legislation combated both childhood obesity and childhood hunger by improving the nutritional quality of school lunches and expanded access for needy children to nutrition programs.
Health Care for 11 million children legislation provided cost-effective health coverage for 4 million more children and preserving coverage for 7 million children already enrolled.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act create millions of American jobs, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, cut carbon pollution, and is keeping costs low for Americans.
Statutory Pay as You Go legislation restored a 1990s law that turned record deficits into surpluses.
Weapons Acquisition Reform legislation cracked down on Pentagon waste and cost overruns.
Wall Street Reform legislation was signed into law, that ended taxpayer-funded bailouts and the idea of too big to fail. It empower consumers to make best decisions on homes, credit cards, and financial future.
Legislation that overhaul our Food Safety System was passed in wake of tainted food scandals, putting a new focus on prevention of food contamination and accelerating the response to outbreaks.
Credit Card Holder’s Bill Of Right legislation banned unfair rate hikes, abusive fees/ penalties.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restored rights of women and others to challenge unfair pay.
The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act ensured reliable and timely veterans health care funding by authorizing Congress to approve VA medical care a year in advance.
FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act provided for a 3.4 percent military pay raise, thereby strengthening military readiness and military families’ support, while focusing our strategy in Afghanistan and redeployment from Iraq.
Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell provide for the repeal of that outdated policy, but contingent on the certification of a completed military review, that repeal would not impact readiness.
Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Heath Services legislation provided help to caregivers of disabled, ill or injured veterans, and improving VA health care services for women veterans.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Scathing Report

A scathing 183 page report by a Chicago task force investigation the culture and practices of America's second largest police department revealed that the Chicago Police Department's "own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color."
Between 2008 and 2015, of the 404 people shot or killed by police officers, 74 percent were African-American, that makes up about a third of the city's 2.7 million people.  Other shootings included whites, who account for nearly 32 percent of the city's population were shot 8 percent of the time, and Hispanics, who make up about 29 percent of the population account for 14 percent the shootings.

This comes at a time when large swaths of Chicago are devastated by abject poverty and soaring homicide numbers.  According to data provided by Chicago police, the number of shootings jumped from 359 in 2015 to 677 in 2016.

Chicago has a sad history of false arrests and wrongful convictions.  Hostile police encounters have left an indelible mark on the psyche of the populace.  The Police Accountability Task Force reported, that the residents remain: "affected and if the encounter involved physical or verbal aggression, even if there was no arrest, there is a lasting, negative effect.“

The task force called the October 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white officer and the long delay in releasing police dashboard camera footage "the tipping point for long-simmering community anger.  The videotape was painful, horrific and illuminating in ways that irrefutably exemplified what those in communities of color have long said, and shocked and stirred the conscience of those in other neighborhoods.

The community has good reason not to trust the 12,000 Chicago Police Department.  Racism has fueled longstanding institutional failures in a department where rogue officers often act with impunity.

The Chicago task force reported black and Hispanic drivers were searched about four times as often as white drivers.  However, the department's own data revealed that contraband was found on white drivers twice as often as on black and Hispanic drivers.

Children in some areas of the city are not only being raised in high crime environments, but they’re also being mistreated by those who have sworn to protect and serve them."

*** My posts of 11/25/15 and 11/3o/15 provide more specific information regarding the killing of Laquan McDonald.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Big Banks


In 2009, Preet Bharara became the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York.  As the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, he announced mortgage fraud charges against three former high-level employees of Credit Suisse, after the collapsing value of their investments nearly destroyed the global economy.  Those Credit Suisse employees had jacked up the book value of bundled housing loans they were selling.  They overstated the value by $540 million, boosting a top executive’s bonus to $1.7 million in 2007.

After convicting 56 people for insider trading Bharara announced: “There was a creeping culture of corruption in our politics and also in Wall Street and in business generally.” His greatest successes against Wall Street crime has come from prosecuting insider trading, a practice which he says “tells everybody at precisely the wrong time that everything is rigged and only people who have a billion dollars and have access to and are best friends with people who are on boards of directors of major companies, they’re the only ones who can make a true buck.”

At the top of the list of “Time” magazine list of those responsible for the 2008 economic crisis was Angelo Mozilo the chief executive of Countrywide Financial.  In 2011, Angelo Mozilo was fined $67.5 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group includes both State and Federal prosecutors.  As a member of that group, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman deserves credited for the $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America for deceiving investors into buying troubled mortgage securities.

The Bank of America settlement includes $800 million in relief for New York.  The money is being used for homeowner relief, foreclosure prevention services, land banks, community revitalization, and the creation and preservation of affordable housing.  Democrats have won nearly $37 billion from banks that helped cause the mortgage crisis.  That includes more than $4 billion in cash and consumer relief for New Yorkers. 

Another major victory for the misconduct that occurred in 2007, that contributed to the global financial crisis was the $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan Chase that the same task force secured in 2013.

Limiting the size of banks doesn't actually prevent a lack of government oversight, predatory lending, or corrupt politicians from taking bribes from Wall Street lobbyists.  The Dodd-Frank reforms must continue to be enforced. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

American Creditors


Donald Trump has implied that he’d negotiate with America's creditors to get them to accept a lower rate of repayment, such as 85 cents for every dollar.

That sounded great, but he apparently didn’t realize that America citizens would be hurt under that scenario.  Of the over $19 trillion of our governments debt, China has become one of the largest holders of our debt.  China's share of our federal debt is about 7 percent, but it's not even close to being the largest holder of government bonds.

By far American citizens and entities, such as state and local governments, pension funds, mutual funds, and the Federal Reserve own 67.5 percent of the debt.  Foreign nations only hold 32.5 percent of the total debt.

Lenders have confidence that the U.S. Treasury will always make good on its payments.

Economist Doug Holtz-Eakin has recently explained: "If he (Trump) were to put a crack in that foundation, the global financial system would crater and we would have a global economic recession.  The global financial system is built on the notion that U.S. Treasuries are absolutely safe assets."

Renegotiating debt terms is a common practice among companies in financial trouble.  Creditors are willing to accept lower payments because that's preferable to getting nothing.  The U.S. government isn't a "junk bond" company.

Retirees buy bonds because they are safer than stocks and provide more stable monthly income.  Investors of all ages hold U.S. bonds to make their retirement and investment portfolios less risky.

Of the $12.9 trillion chunk of debt owned by Americans, $5.3 trillion is held by government trust funds such as Social Security, $5.1 trillion is held by individuals, pension funds and state and local governments and the remaining $2.5 trillion is held by the Federal Reserve.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trump’s Tax Returns


Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton criticized Donald Trump during a recent event in Camden County, New Jersey, after a man in the audience raised the issue of Trump not releasing his tax returns.

She explained: "When you run for president, especially when you become the nominee, that is kind of expected.  My husband and I have released 33 years of tax returns -we've got eight years on our website right now.  So you have got to ask yourself, why does he not release them?"

The pro-Clinton group American Bridge immediately launched a new website, TrumpReleaseYourReturns.com, that calls on Trump the Republican nominee for president to release his tax returns.

American Bridge President Jessica Mackler insisted:"Voters deserve to know whether or not Trump pays his fair share in taxes, for example, or if he's too cheap to give to charitable causes." 

Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee and a fierce Trump critic has reiterated his call for Trump to release his tax returns in a Facebook post.  Romney maintained: "It is disqualifying for a modern-day presidential nominee to refuse to release tax returns to the voters, especially one who has not been subject to public scrutiny in either military or public service.  Tax returns provide the public with its sole confirmation of the veracity of a candidate's representations regarding charities, priorities, wealth, tax conformance, and conflicts of interest."

Trump claims, that he won’t release his tax returns so long as they’re being audited.  He told the Associated Press he probably won’t be releasing any returns before November.

However, other presidential candidates have released their tax returns amid audits.  In 1973, President Nixon publicly released his returns while they were under audit.

Since, Trump’s tax returns are allegedly already being audited not releasing them only makes voters more suspicious.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dana Houle


 The following excerpt is from a recent column by Dana Houle, who writes for “The Rooted Cosmopolitan.”   

“By hanging around, Sanders may be depriving Democrats of an opportunity to take back Congress.

“Hillary Clinton needs to win just 17 percent of the remaining uncommitted delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination.  At this point, arguments about Bernie Sanders’s platform, his movement, or his purported electability are irrelevant; he will not be the Democratic nominee for president.  Sanders must know this, but he has declared he will contest Clinton’s nomination up to the party’s nominating convention in July.

“It is Sanders’s prerogative to remain in the race.  But exercising that prerogative makes it easier for mega-wealthy conservatives to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to lethally bludgeon both Clinton’s candidacy and the progressive agenda to which Sanders has devoted his career.  This is not solely about combating the grave threat of a Donald Trump presidency.

“This is about the potential of a Democratic landslide and the progressive achievements that could follow, which is an opportunity too rare and precious to squander.  The best way for Sanders to advance the progressive cause is to end his campaign and unabashedly ask his supporters to join him in helping to elect Hillary Clinton.

“Sanders has earned the support of millions of Democrats, and the respect of even many ardent Clinton supporters.  He has drawn attention to inequality, and to the economic and political influence of Wall Street.  He has broadened the political debate and expanded the Democratic Party’s horizons.  None of this will change if he steps aside now.  On the flip side, what would Sanders gain by dragging out the nomination?  Many Democrats are eager to wrap up the intra-party debate and take the fight to Trump.  He’s in an optimal position to win concessions from Democrats, and will lose leverage as the nomination drags on.

“Sanders supporters, resisting calls for him to end his campaign, point out Clinton did not end her 2008 campaign against Barack Obama until June.  For what it’s worth, Clinton should not have stayed in the race that long.  But the Clinton campaign did at least have a rationale for hanging around. Michigan and Florida had flouted the Democratic National Committee’s nominating schedule, and their delegates were not allocated until the DNC rules committee met in the last week of May.  Had Clinton won a more favorable distribution of those delegates, she would have been within 100 pledged delegates of Obama, giving her hope for a miracle at the convention.  Instead, a week after the DNC’s meeting, she ended her campaign.  Sanders has no potential delegate windfalls awaiting him.  The trajectory of the race is set, and Clinton will win on the first ballot.”

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Much Better World


According to President Obama our country is a much better place for African-Americans today than it was in 1983, when he graduated from college.  The following in a excerpt from his speech at Howard University's commencement ceremony.

“America is a better place today than it was when I graduated from college.  Let me repeat: America is by almost every measure better than it was when I graduated from college.  It also happens to be better off than when I took office, but that's a longer story.  That's a different discussion for another speech.

“But think about it.  I graduated in 1983.  New York City, America’s largest city, where I lived at the time, had endured a decade marked by crime and deterioration and near bankruptcy.  And many cities were in similar shape.  Our nation had gone through years of economic stagnation, the stranglehold of foreign oil, a recession where unemployment nearly scraped 11 percent.  The auto industry was getting its clock cleaned by foreign competition...

“Since the year I graduated, the poverty rate is down.  Americans with college degrees, that rate is up.  Crime rates are down.  America’s cities have undergone a renaissance.  There are more women in the workforce.  They’re earning more money.  We’ve cut teen pregnancy in half.  We've slashed the African American dropout rate by almost 60 percent, and all of you have a computer in your pocket that gives you the world at the touch of a button.  In 1983, I was part of fewer than 10 percent of African Americans who graduated with a bachelor’s degree.  Today, you’re part of the more than 20 percent who will.  And more than half of blacks say we’re better off than our parents were at our age, and that our kids will be better off, too.

“So America is better.  And the world is better, too.  A wall came down in Berlin.  An Iron Curtain was torn asunder.  The obscenity of apartheid came to an end.  A young generation in Belfast and London have grown up without ever having to think about IRA bombings.  In just the past 16 years, we’ve come from a world without marriage equality to one where it’s a reality in nearly two dozen countries.  Around the world, more people live in democracies.  We’ve lifted more than 1 billion people from extreme poverty.  We’ve cut the child mortality rate worldwide by more than half.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

Barriers to Voting


The Supreme Courts decision in the case, Shelby County v. Holder will go down as one of the court’s absolute worst.  It was an act of judicial activism in which five conservative justices ruled a key provision of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.  Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act had required what’s known as pre-clearance of any changes to the way elections are run in parts of our country.

At Howard University's commencement ceremony, President Obama lectured young African American graduates: “So you got to vote all the time, not just when it’s cool, not just when it's time to elect a President, not just when you’re inspired.  It's your duty.  When it’s time to elect a member of Congress or a city councilman, or a school board member, or a sheriff.  That’s how we change our politics, by electing people at every level who are representative of and accountable to us.  It is not that complicated.  Don’t make it complicated.”
Fifty years after the Voting Rights Act was passed there are still too many barriers for people to vote.  We are the only advanced democracy on Earth that goes out of its way to make it difficult for people to vote.

However, even if every barrier to voting is dismantled, that alone would not change the fact that America has some of the lowest voting rates.  In 2014, only 36 percent of Americans turned out to vote in the midterms.  The second lowest participation rate on record would be college age voters.  Their turnout was less than 20 percent.  Four out of five didn’t vote.

In 2012, nearly two in three African Americans turned out, but in 2014, only two in five turned out.  That made a difference in terms of the Congress, and what President Obama was able to accomplish.  That is the reason some complain Obama hasn’t gotten things done.  If you have more votes than the other party in Congress, you get to do what you want.  When young African Americans don’t vote, they disenfranchise themselves.  

Had 50, 60, 70 percent, of young voters had turned out to vote in 2014, all across America, the results would have been much different.  Young people need to use their votes to stop others from taking away the right to vote from the elderly, poor, the people formerly incarcerated, who are trying to earn their second chance.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Zachary Jonathan Jacobson


The following excerpt is from an article written by Zachary Jonathan Jacobson, who is a Cold War historian:

“Bernie Sanders’ lock on young people has been a constant throughout the Democratic presidential primaries.  Exit polling shows he won 83 percent of voters under 30 in Pennsylvania last month, 74 percent in Indiana last week and 71 percent in West Virginia on Tuesday.

“Why are Millennials so enamored of Sanders?  Most hypotheses credit their enthusiasm for sweeping moral goals such as transparency, fairness and justice.  Perhaps young voters prefer Sanders’ call for ‘revolution’ over Hillary Clinton’s more pragmatic incrementalism.  Perhaps they are put off by Clinton’s questionable use of a private email server and her highly paid speeches on Wall Street.

“Clinton has intimated time and again that Sanders’ powerful ‘diagnoses’ of American economic ills (read: without prescriptions) are the big draw.  Larry David, playing the 74-year-old Sanders on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, explained it this way: ‘The young people love me ... because I’m like them.  I got a lot of big plans and absolutely no idea how to achieve them.’

“I would add a historical reason for the generational split: Unlike older people, Millennials have no memories of socialism, communism and the Cold War that framed American foreign policy from 1945 to 1991.  During that period, the Soviet Union shifted all parts of its economy, whether business, health or education, to government control.  The end goal was a Utopian communist state in which class was abolished, egalitarianism ruled and all citizens would equally own their means of production.

“Sanders proudly calls himself a democratic socialist.  For a vast number of Americans old enough to have lived through the Cold War era, referring to oneself as a socialist elicits reactions that range from dangerous suspicion to laughable condescension.  Previously, a man with avowed respect for Fidel Castro would be disqualified as a high-level politician.  Previously, a man who honeymooned in the former Soviet Union would be disqualified.  A socialist (democratic or not) would recall not Scandinavia but aggressive Soviet communism, and would be disqualified.”

I suggest that you read the complete article at http://usat.ly/1T9QYeW

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Senator Warren


On 3/10/16, Elizabeth Warren observed: “We’re out there talking about both our candidates are talking about the importance of holding Wall Street accountable.  We’re having a debate back and forth about the best way to make sure that our kids can make it through college without getting crushed by student loan debt.  We’re out there having a big conversation about trade and what kind of trade policies we should follow.”

Recently, she posted on Facebook: “Donald Trump is now the leader of the Republican Party.  It's real – he is one step away from the White House.  Here's what else is real.  Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia.  There's more enthusiasm for him among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls.

“He incites supporters to violence, praises Putin, and, according to a columnist who recently interviewed him, is ‘cool with being called an authoritarian’ and doesn't mind associations with history's worst dictators. 

“He attacks veterans like John McCain who were captured and puts our service members at risk by cheerleading illegal torture.  In a world with ISIS militants and leaders like North Korean strongman Kim Jong-Un conducting nuclear tests, he surrounds himself with a foreign policy team that has been called a ‘collection of charlatans,’ and puts out contradictory and nonsensical national security ideas one expert recently called ‘incoherent’ and ‘truly bizarre.’ 

“What happens next will test the character for all of us – Republican, Democrat, and Independent.  It will determine whether we move forward as one nation or splinter at the hands of one man's narcissism and divisiveness.  I know which side I'm on, and I’m going to fight my heart out to make sure Donald Trump’s toxic stew of hatred and insecurity never reaches the White House.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bill Bogart


In 1964, the Republican Party ran Barry Goldwater as their presidential candidate.  Democrats ran the following TV ad entitled: “Confessions of a Republican.”
Bill Bogart noted: “I don’t know just why they wanted to call this a confession; I certainly don’t feel guilty about being a Republican.  I’ve always been a Republican.
“My father is, his father was, the whole family is a Republican family.  I voted for Dwight Eisenhower the first time I ever voted; I voted for Nixon the last time.
“But when we come to Senator Goldwater, now it seems to me, we’re up against a very different kind of a man.  This man scares me.
“Now maybe I’m wrong.  A friend of mine just said to me, ‘Listen, just because a man sounds a little irresponsible during a campaign doesn’t mean he’s going to act irresponsibly.’
“You know that theory, that the White House makes the man.  I don’t buy that.  You know what I think makes a president – I mean, aside from his judgment, his experience – are the men behind him, his advisors, the cabinet.
“And so many men with strange ideas are working for Goldwater.  You hear a lot about what these guys are against – they seem to be against just about everything – but what are they for?
“The hardest thing for me about this whole campaign is to sort out one Goldwater statement from another.  A reporter will go to Senator Goldwater and he’ll say, ‘Senator, on such and such a day, you said, and I quote, ‘blah blah blah’ whatever it is, end quote.’  And then Goldwater says,
' Well, I wouldn’t put it that way.'
“I can’t follow that.  Was he serious when he did put it that way?  Is he serious when he says I wouldn’t put it that way?  I just don’t get it.  A president ought to mean what he says.
“President Johnson, at least is talking about facts.  He says, ‘Look, we’ve got the tax cut bill and because of that, you get to carry home X number of dollars more every payday.  We’ve got the nuclear test ban and because of that, there is X percent less radioactivity in the food.’
“But Goldwater, often, you can’t figure out just what Goldwater means by the things he says.  I read now where he says, ‘A wave- a craven fear of death is sweeping across America.’
“What is that supposed to mean?  If he means that people don’t want to fight a nuclear war, he’s right.  I don’t.  When I read some of these things that Goldwater says about total victory, I get a little worried, you know?
“I wish I was as sure that Goldwater is as against war as I am that he’s against some of these other things.  I wish I could believe that he has the imagination to be able to just shut his eyes and picture what this country would look like after a nuclear war.
“Sometimes, I wish I’d been at that convention in San Francisco.  I mean, I wish I’d been a delegate, I really do.  I would have fought, you know?
“I wouldn’t have worried so much about party unity because if you unite behind a man you don’t believe in, it’s a lie.  I tell you, those people who got control of that convention: Who are they?
“I mean, when the head of the Ku Klux Klan, when all these weird groups come out in favor of the candidate of my party – either they’re not Republicans or I’m not.
“I’ve thought about just not voting at this election, just staying home – but you can’t do that, because that’s saying you don’t care who wins, and I do care.  I think my party made a bad mistake in San Francisco, and I’m going to have to vote against that mistake on the 3rd of November.
“Vote for President Johnson on November 3rd.  The stakes are too high for you to stay home.” 
On 5/2/16, Bill Bogart, who is now 80, said on the Rachel Maddow Show: “And there is no way that I can visualize myself voting for any of the Republicans this year.”

Monday, May 09, 2016

Social Security Tax


Social Security was instituted 81 years ago, when the suicide rate among senior citizens has 50 percent higher.  I like Social Security, because it has always paid out benefits, but if you’re a right wing ideologue, who hates government, that doesn’t support your agenda.
On May 4, 2005, billionaire Warren Buffett said: “I personally would increase the taxable base above the present $90,000.  I pay very little in the way of SS taxes.  The rich are winning.  Just take the estate tax, less than 2 percent of all the estates pay any estate tax.  We raise $30 billion from estate taxes.  I would like to hear a Congressman say who they are going to get the $30 billion from if they don't get it from estate taxes.  It's nice to say wipe out this tax, but we're running a huge deficit, so who does the $30 billion come from?  Right now corporate profits as a percentage of GDP in this country are right at the high.  Corporate taxes as a percentage of total taxes raised are very close to the historical low.”
Former President George W. Bush called for a transition to a combination of a government-funded program and personal accounts, that would have partial privatized the system.    President Obama has strongly opposes privatization or raising the retirement age.
In 2008, Americans earning over $250,000 a year, included 2 million millionaires and 482 billionaires.  By eliminating the $90,000 FICA cap on Social Security deductions, the Social Security Trust Fund has acquire more money.
Today, the Social Security tax applies only to the first $118, 500 of your income.  As soon a very wealthy person reaches that limit, they're done for the year.  Some people claim that we should worry about the system going broke.  The solution has been obvious for over a decade.
Florida’s Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson has offered a bill to “scrap the cap.”  But, his bill will never be voted on as long as the Speaker of the House is a Republican.
Congress has failed to act while hard-working Americans see their pensions dwindle and savings decrease.  Now, Paul Ryan and congressional Republicans are proposing cutting Social Security benefits, that 54 million Americans rely on.  For many senior citizens, Social Security is just enough to make ends meet.  A secure retirement should means more than just getting by.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Medicare

As a senator, Hillary Clinton sponsored and co-sponsored bills to reduce the impact of the Medicare prescription drug gap by reducing the price of pharmaceuticals for seniors.  She’s aware that Medicare is the bedrock of coverage for more than 50 million American senior citizens and those people with disabilities.

As president, she would be commitment defend the program against efforts by congressional Republicans to end Medicare as we know it by privatizing Medicare or to gradually “phase out” the program.  

Keep in mind that even so called moderate congressional Republicans such as Chris Gibson voted more than 50 times to repeal or dismantle the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The ACA made preventive care available without cost sharing to an estimated 39 million people with Medicare. 

It began to close the drug coverage gap, or “donut hole,” thereby saving more than 9 million people with Medicare an average of almost $1,600 per person.  Seniors and people with Medicare coverage cannot afford the repeal of the ACA.

Hillary would strongly oppose Republican attempts to weaken Medicare, because a typical senior citizen spends over $500 per year on prescription drugs.  Her plan would drive down drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices with drug and biologic manufacturers; demand higher rebates; and allow Americans to import lower-cost drugs from foreign countries with approved safety standards.  The plan encourages drug companies that get ahead by investing in life-saving treatments, rather than jacking up prices without innovating.  Those changes and reduced payments or higher rebates to drug companies will strengthen Medicare by saving more than $100 billion in spending.

Hillary’s plan would continue to reward quality and improve value in Medicare by building on delivery system reforms that began as initiatives and pilot projects under the Affordable Care Act.  For example, her plan will encourage the expansion of payment systems that pay for an entire episode of care or “bundle,” rather than the traditional “fee for service” payments, and those that incentivize doctors and hospitals to coordinate care in an Accountable Care Organization, so that providers are responsible for offering the best possible care at the highest value to patients.  These delivery reforms should provide higher quality at lower costs to people in Medicare.

Clinton plans to expand those changes to other parts of our health system so every American would eventually benefit from them.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

A Promise


Hillary Clinton doesn’t consider Social Security to be just another federal program, she considers it a promise.
For 80 years, Social Security has reflected a belief that every American should be able to retire with dignity after decades of hard work.  No American should face poverty because of being disabled, or when a loved one dies.
Republicans have used scare tactics about the future and effectiveness of Social Security to push through policies that would jeopardize it.  Hillary believes that Social Security must remain a rock-solid benefit that seniors can count and not be subject to the fluctuations of the stock market.  She is oppose to reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments, raising the retirement age, and closing long-term shortfall on the backs of the middle class.
Hillary will fight to expand Social Security for those who need it most and are being treated unfairly.  For example: the poverty rate for widowed women 65 or older is nearly 90 percent higher than for other seniors, in part because when a spouse dies, families can face a steep benefit cut.  For a two-earner couple, those benefit cuts can be as much as 50 percent. Hillary believes that we have to change that by reducing how much Social Security benefits drop when a spouse dies, so that the loss of a spouse doesn’t mean financial hardship or falling into poverty.
Millions of women and men take time out of the paid workforce to raise a child, take care of an aging parent or look after an ailing family member.  Caregiving is work that benefits our entire economy.  However, when Americans take time off to take care of a relative, that can reduce their Social Security benefits at retirement, because benefits are calculated based on their top thirty-five years of earnings.  No one should face meager Social Security checks because they took on the vital role of caregiver for part of their career.  Americans should receive credit toward their Social Security benefits when they are out of the paid workforce because they are acting as caregivers.
Hillary understands that there is no way to guarantee dignity in retirement without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap, and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.

Friday, May 06, 2016

National Security Plan


The cornerstone of Hillary’s campaign national security plan is that when America leads with principle and purpose, other people and governments are eager to join us.  Her framework for American leadership includes a strong economy that provides the foundation for our leadership, our diplomatic influence, as well as our military might.

Hillary would expanded global anti-terrorism cooperation and step up efforts to go after terrorist recruitment, propaganda, and safe havens.

She'll ensure our country maintains the best-trained, best-equipped, and strongest military the world has ever known.  Our allies, especially Israel, will be safer if we vigorously enforce the nuclear agreement with Iran and implement a broader strategy to confront Iran’s bad behavior in the region.
She recognizes that ISIS and the foreign terrorist fighters it recruits pose a serious threat to America and our allies. Our military will defeat them in a way that builds greater stability across the region, without miring our troops in another misguided ground war.  Terrorism will eventually be defeated through our partnership to build Iraqi military and governing capacity.  She’d continue our commitment to Afghanistan’s democracy.

Hillary will work with our allies to strengthen institutions in Asia that push China to become a responsible stakeholder on cyberspace, human rights, trade, territorial disputes, and climate change.
She'll work with European allies to decrease their dependence on Russian oil.  And, will continue to deter Russian aggressions, by increasing the costs to Putin for his actions.
Hillary would prepare America for the world of tomorrow.  That means that our government acknowledge, that safeguarding our country from rising sea levels and extreme weather requires domestic action and intensive global engagement.  We must lead this effort, not back away from this threat to our security.

Cyber attacks have profound consequences for our economy and national security.  Hillary’s plan would pressure our public and private sectors to overcome the mistrust that impedes cooperation, in order to strengthen security and build resiliency for economy and infrastructure.  Our country must outpace this rapidly changing threat, maintain strong protections against unwarranted government or corporate surveillance, while ensuring American companies are the most competitive in the world.
Highly contagious diseases are a constant threat.  Warmer and drier conditions caused by global climate change, along with an increasingly interconnected world, that enable germs to spread more quickly across the globe.  We must remain vigilant and do more to prevent and contain outbreaks.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Mathematically Impossible


The following excerpt is from an article written by CNN’s Tom Lo Bianco: “It is mathematically impossible for Bernie Sanders to win enough delegates in the remaining Democratic contests to secure the nomination, but his aides see a path through a convention battle in Philadelphia that would target the party's superdelegates.
“The Democratic nominee must win 2,383 delegates to secure the nomination, but with only 933 delegates up for grabs in the remaining contests, it is impossible for Sanders to get there just by winning contests against front-runner Hillary Clinton.  The Vermont senator has racked up 1,444 delegates, according to the latest CNN delegate tally, but would need to win more than 100% of the remaining delegates.
“Asked about this hurdle Wednesday, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver dismissed it.  “The truth is, no one is going to the convention with the requisite number of pledged delegates to win.  The superdelegates are going to decide this race,’ Weaver said on CNN's ‘New Day.’

“The comment wasn't as much a guarantee as a promise from the Sanders camp that they would fight Clinton all the way to Philadelphia with the hopes of putting her in the same boat as them, fighting over superdelegates.

“Sanders could still collect enough delegates to deny Clinton the nomination before Philadelphia.  Clinton is just 165 delegates shy of the nomination on the surface, but that tally includes superdelegates, who are not locked in until they cast their vote in July.  Not including Democratic superdelegates, she is 678 delegates shy of the nomination.

“The Sanders campaign promises it has been running an aggressive campaign to peel superdelegates from her, but it appears to have paid little dividend.

“For the past month, the focus of a convention battle has been squarely on the Republicans, as Ted Cruz appeared close to forcing Donald Trump into a behind-the-scenes delegate battle.  But that evaporated when Cruz dropped his bid after a grueling loss in Indiana.

“A Sanders aide immediately latched on to the irony Tuesday night.  ‘So who's going to have a contested convention now?’ said the adviser, who spoke on the condition on anonymity, just as Cruz announced he would no longer pursue the GOP presidential nomination.”